Favorite Courseware for Intro Calculus

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Favorite Courseware for Intro Calculus

Postby Kelvin_Mischo » Fri Jul 02, 2010 8:22 pm

Hi Everyone,

There have been a few questions on the forum about courseware, and specifically, courseware that has been used with students for quite a while with good results. It seems like this would be a good separate thread, what's your favorite courseware for intro calc, or your favorite examples that you created yourself that inspire great lightbulb moments with students?

When I started at Wolfram ~12 years ago, I worked with universities in the Midwest, here are the first two courseware sets I remember hearing about:

(1) Calculus & Mathematica at University of Illinois http://www.matheverywhere.com
This courseware is extensive enough to actually replace a traditional text with the included notebooks, there are lots of graphics and animations which show concepts and let students explore patterns with a lot of freedom. I visited a course in session in the late 90's, students met in a computer lab to work through lessons and had the ability to ask lots of individual questions. The students were all very enthusiastic and seemed engrossed in the examples during the class. UIUC did a study a few years back that showed a significant improvement in student performance versus a traditional text, the student grade point average went from 2.9 to 3.3.
There are teachers who have adopted the entire courseware set and run the course just as they do at UIUC, but there are also plenty of teachers that use this courseware to supplement their favorite text, and use the Mathematica notebooks as labs that are assigned to students periodically during a semester. Congratulations to Jerry Uhl who won our Mathematica Pioneer Award recently!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5SLsBwq ... re=related

(2) Calculus: The Language of Change at University of Iowa http://www.math.uiowa.edu/~stroyan/CTLC3rdEd/ctlc.htm
This courseware has quite a few real-world examples that link science and engineering to calculus concepts, and these projects are integrated nicely with the text. A study was also done with these courseware examples, but focused on how well they prepared science and engineering students for future courses. Students who took the Mathematica-based into calc course performed better in 6 of the 7 courses measured, and quite a bit better in multi-variable calc and more advanced physics courses. Although I haven't been able to sit in on a class, I talked with Keith about enthusiastic student experiences on quite a few occasions; one of which was at Joint Math in 2005 right before he received the MAA's most prestigious teaching award, which I still find a great accomplishment.
http://www.news-releases.uiowa.edu/2005 ... royan.html

I can think of dozens of other great courseware sets off the top of my head that faulty shared over the years, so definitely take the time to list your favorites so I don't feel like I'm leaving people out of the thread!


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